Tightening the secrecy over the year Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes spent studying neuroscience, a judge has barred the University of Colorado Denver from releasing any records about the former graduate student’s time there.
What happened to the 24-year-old during his time in the program at the school’s Anschutz Medical Campus is one of the many mysteries stemming from last Friday’s mass shooting at a theater in which he’s accused of killing 12 people and injuring 58 others at a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises.”…
Numerous media organizations, including The Associated Press, filed open records requests for school records about Holmes after he was named as the suspect in the shooting that happened just after midnight July 20.
But in an order signed Monday and released by the school Thursday in response to an open records request by the AP, District Court Judge William Blair Sylvester said releasing information in response to requests filed under the Colorado Open Records Act would “impede an ongoing investigation.” Sylvester is overseeing the criminal case against Holmes, who is expected to appear in court Monday and be formally charged.
Mark Caramanica, freedom of information director at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in Arlington, Va., called the order “highly unorthodox.” He said it was unusual that a public institution would consult with an outside entity instead of just following the law and answering the request.
“It seems very premature for a court to get involved and make such a sweeping order,” Caramanica said. “It seems like a very broad and overly aggressive approach.”